Social Networking as a PLE

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the phases of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE). It’s important to note that for every single topic or skill you decide to learn, these phases form the process by which you are going to learn that topic or skill.

It may seem like I’m showing just one more teaching method in a sea of them, but really the PLE is more of a personal learning manager, helping students learn to conduct better research and analysis, to deeply study topics and skills, and then to provide authentic proof of their learning. In fact, if you look at my notes (and I do hope to eventually offer resources on my take on the PLE), you’ll see that I’ve incorporated Bloom’s Taxonomy, updated for the current tools and resources available to all of us as learners.

What this means is that you can easily bend social networking tools to build your PLE (and your PLN) to make a system that works best for your research, study, and creation habits.

Looking at the two links, it makes sense that as you move through the stages of the personal learning network for a single skill that earlier social media skills cluster at the lower end of Bloom’s Taxonomy and later ones cluster at the higher end. It also makes sense that a set of social media skills iterates through the middle skills as you refine and experiment with the topic or skill while achieving a deeper understanding of it.

You just kind of do it on a more public stage, but that can be useful, too. Remember that part of being an autodidact is finding communities of practice. When you choose to run your PLE through your social media tools (even if you prefer to keep things locked down to a select few), you’re opening yourself to finding your communities and contributing usefully to them. You also position yourself to having an ongoing practical portfolio available to potential clients and employers, which is also useful. It’s a personally structured, less affiliated version of the e-portfolio various people and groups have been trying to bring about for years.


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